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					                                                                                                           Issue No.7

                                                               TheBrief                                     Spring 06


                                                                                      Proves Popular
We’re delighted to announce that two new partners have joined the firm this
year: conveyancing specialist Ian Burrow (see the article below) at Herne Bay,
and commercial property specialist Jeremy Burke (‘Partner Profile’, back page)
based at our Canterbury office, who is also responsible for marketing our
                                                                                      Girlings first drop-in forum for small
commercial division’s range of services. A warm welcome to them both.
                                                                                      businesses, held earlier this year at
Our spring 2006 issue takes a look at the changes heralded by pensions ‘A’ Day,       Ashford Business Point, was well
as well as the new age discrimination laws due to come into force in October          attended by local business owners
(pages 2 and 3). As electronic evidence becomes more common, email policies           and managers, who took full
for staff make sound sense, as outlined in our ‘Deleting Emails’ article on page 4.   advantage of the opportunity to
                                                                                      discuss a variety of legal concerns
If you need advice on these or other employment law issues, look out for our          with Girlings’ experienced
interactive seminars, which start on 11th May at Harbledown, near Canterbury –        commercial and employment law
see the back page for full details.                                                   teams, free of charge. Attendees also
                                                                                      appreciated the informal format of
As always, I hope you enjoy ‘The Brief’, and if you have any comments or stories
                                                                                      the event, which enabled them to
you would like to share, please get in touch.
                                                                                      obtain a consultation more or less
                                                                                      straight away without having to make
Andrew Watson - Managing Partner
                                                                                      an appointment.

Girlings and Ian Burrow & Co.
            join forces                                                               In this issue:
                                March saw exciting developments in Herne Bay,
                                when Girlings amalgamated with residential            Page 1
                                conveyancing specialists, Ian Burrow & Co. of         Herne Bay Merger
                                William Street.                                       Drop-in Forum

                                Ian has now joined Girlings, and our existing         Page 2
                                practice at 158 High Street will remain at its        Age Discrimination
                                                                                      Europartners Visit
                                present location until mid-May, when staff will
                                transfer to William Street.                           Page 3
Ian Burrow (left) with Andrew                                                         Pensions ‘A’ Day
Watson, Girlings’ managing
                                 Clients of both practices will benefit from the
partner                                                                               Page 4
                                 merger. The larger conveyancing team offers an
                                                                                      E-mail Evidence
enhanced service to people buying or selling property in the Herne Bay area and
clients of Ian Burrow & Co. now have access to a much wider range of legal            Page 5
services. These include commercial and employment law, litigation and dispute         Girlings’ People
resolution, accident and injury claims, family and matrimonial, business and          Page 6
property transactions in Europe, as well as the services offered by Girlings’         Employment Law Seminars
larger wills and probate team.                                                        Partner Profile
                                                     for Age
                Are you ready for 1st October?              • introduce a new duty on employers to consider an
                The Government has published the              employee’s request to continue working beyond
                draft Employment Equality (Age)               retirement
                Regulations 2006 which will come            • require employers to inform employees in writing,
                into force on that date.                      and at least six months in advance, of their intended
                                                              retirement date. This will allow people to plan for
Many businesses around the UK need to consider now            their retirement.
how the new laws, which will prohibit age discrimination
                                                         • remove the upper age limit for unfair dismissal and
at both the younger and older end, might affect them.
                                                           redundancy rights, giving older workers the same rights
The regulations will prohibit direct and indirect age      to claim unfair dismissal or receive a redundancy
discrimination, harassment and victimisation. The Age      payment as younger workers, unless there is a genuine
Regulations are expected to come into force on 1 October   retirement
2006. They have been published in draft form so anyone
                                                         • include provisions relating to service related benefits
wishing to comment on them now has the chance to do so.
                                                           and occupational pensions.
The Regulations:                                            The regulations also remove the age limits for Statutory
• prohibit unjustified age discrimination in employment     Sick Pay, Statutory Maternity Pay, Statutory Adoption Pay
  and vocational training                                   and Statutory Paternity Pay.

• require employers who set their retirement age below      If you would like some advice on how the new law will
  the default age of 65 to justify or change it             affect you, please contact Simon Warley on
                                                            01233 664711 for more details.

Europartners’ Visit

Girlings’ French and Spanish Europartners visited the
Ashford and Canterbury offices last month to discuss the
future development of Girlings Europe. The service,
launched a year ago, provides advice and assistance to
clients who are interested in launching, developing or
expanding a business, relocating or purchasing property
on the Continent. Girlings Europe also provides services
for the private client, including conveyancing, wills and
                                                             Gérard Barron of Barron et Brun, Damian Steffen and Cesareo Guerra
probate, family law and dispute resolution.
                                                             of Guerra Abogados (second left and far right) with Girlings’ chairman
For details, contact Chris Argent on 01843 220274.           Francis Elton (centre)
 Pensions A-Day

           Few readers will have missed the
           fact that major pensions law
           changes came into force from 6th
           April 2006, but many may fail to
           take action to improve their own
           tax position.
           Most ought to check if they are in
           the fortunate position to exceed the
           new pension maximum funding                    • 25% in cash – some changes are made but the
           limits. Others will be pleased they              right to receive 25% of a pension fund as tax-free
           can now contribute.                              cash continues. Indeed people can take it without
                                                            retiring when they reach the right age and the
                                                            Government has had to act to stop people taking
                                                            the 25% and then reinvesting it in a pension to get
                                                            another 40% tax relief on the re-contribution.

Changes include:                                          • Self invested pensions – Sipp – can be used to buy
                                                            assets such as commercial property, as indeed has
• Earliest retirement age for most people rises to          been the case for many years, although a plan to
  55 from 50 from 2010                                      allow residential property to go into a Sipp was
• Maximum contribution will be the lower of your            stopped at the last minute. No one must benefit
  annual earnings or £215,000 in the 2006/07 tax year.      from the Sipp personally – thus to invest in wine
  So high earners, on say £300,000, who, for example,       and drink it or buy art works and then hang them on
  have an inheritance of £215,000, could put it all in      your walls would be prohibited!
  their pension.                                          • Annuities – it will no longer be compulsory to buy
• Single Lifetime Allowance of £1.5m for 2006/07. So        an annuity at age 75. Alternative Secured Income
  if your pension will yield you about £70,000 a year,      arrangements can be set up instead and the unused
  you will be at that level. Check immediately. If the      part can be passed to heirs on death. In that case,
  fund exceeds this and retirement is in 2006/07, there     an income must be taken from the fund, which will
  will be punitive rates applied of up to 55%.              be taxed. The minimum amount will be £1 a year
  Measures can be taken to freeze the pot, so do take       and the maximum will be linked to annuity rates.
  advice. Some people will have to stop contributing        So if someone chooses to work until they die, well
  to pension funds to avoid the penalty charge,             over age 75, they can at 75 set up an ASI and leave
  although the £1.5m will increase over time.               the balance for their heirs – this would be subject
                                                            to inheritance tax if the sum inherited exceeded
• Small pensions – pension pots of up to £15,000
                                                            those limits.
  can all be taken in cash now, 25% of which is tax-
  free cash.                                              There are two new kinds of annuity - the Limited
                                                          Period Annuity and the Value Protected Annuity,
                                                          lasting five years, after which time you can buy
                                                          another one, or a normal lifetime annuity.
                                                          The latter will pay out unused amounts to heirs but
                                                          with a lower annuity. Take advice now on how the
                                                          new pensions rules affect you.

                                                          Call John Isherwood on 01227 768374 for details.
Deleting your emails

Deleting your emails
You might think deleting an email means that it                   whether information is completely eliminated, or merely
disappears, but in fact they can be restored.                     deleted". The Tribunal seemed to hold that all backed
Sometimes a court orders that they must be                        up data is archived until it is completely deleted.
handed to someone else, too.                                      This overturns guidance from both the Information

Some years ago, the UK Information Commissioner’s                 Commissioner and the Department of Constitutional

Office issued guidance on the right of ‘subject access’           Affairs, which both felt that information on a back up

under s7 of the Data Protection Act 1998 and information          server or about to be permanently deleted was
in emails. It addressed the issue of when a deleted email         not ‘held’.
would need to be retrieved in response to a subject               That was clearly nonsense, so the guidance will have to
access request. Solicitors who do litigation routinely            be changed after this decision.
have to examine issues of what electronic documents
and emails are disclosable to the other side in any               Government bodies holding data have now been held to

court case.                                                       have an obligation to do things such as simple
                                                                  restorations from 'trash can' or 'recycle bin' folders or
The Information Tribunal has made a ruling now under
                                                                  from back-up tapes. However, if the work of a
the Freedom of Information Act 2000, which has a
                                                                  restoration using specialist employees for local
similar provision entitling requests for information to
                                                                  authorities is more than £450 and Government
be made.
                                                                  departments £600, there is no obligation to retrieve it.
This involved a request to Royal Mail for personnel data          That, of course, is not the legal position if a court case is
which had been 'deleted'. The Tribunal decided that the           going on, when the court Civil Procedure Rules will
data had been deleted, so could not be handed over in             apply on these issues. There have also been some
this case, but it also examined the law generally as to
                                                                  changes recently to the court rules on electronic
what data is held.
The Tribunal said that it, "understands that information
                                                                  It is wise to have an email policy for your staff to follow,
which is held electronically and then deleted (and even
                                                                  which also lets them know when their emails or web use
emptied later from a 'recycle bin' or 'trash can') is still, in
                                                                  might be monitored by the employer.
fact, retained in its original form on the computer system
until it is subsequently and actually overwritten by other        We can draft such a policy for you or give you legal
information". In view of this, "it may be incumbent on a          advice in this area.
Public Authority to make attempts to retrieve deleted             Contact Simon Warley on 01233 664711
information. Accordingly the authority should establish           for more details.
                         Girlings’ People
Long Service Awards
Girlings has recognised the efforts of two dedicated
members of staff who have achieved a combined total of
                                                                Newly Qualified
35 years’ service.

Probate executive Jenny Humphries joined Girlings in 1986
to work as a filing clerk. After two years she was promoted
to the probate department, where she specialises in the
management of the elderly, working alongside partner
Robin Browne and the rest of the probate team at Crown
Chambers, Margate.

Janet Glynn, who is a legal executive, has been with
Girlings for 15 years, working first at the Herne Bay office,
then the Margate office, before returning to Herne Bay,
where she works with a team of four in the private client
department, dealing with wills, trusts and estates.

                                                                          Sean Pilcher

                                                                Following two years of training at Girlings’
                                                                Canterbury office, Sean Pilcher recently qualified
                                                                as an assistant solicitor. Sean, who works in the
                                                                civil litigation department with managing partner
                                                                Andrew Watson and partner David Mallinson,
                                                                was a legal assistant at Pfizer before he joined
                                                                A keen runner, Sean is taking part in this year’s
                                                                London Marathon in aid of children’s charity ‘Get
                                                                Kids Going’, helping to raise money to give
                                                                under-privileged/disabled children access to
                                                                sporting facilities.

                                                                Promoting Talent
Partner Robin Browne congratulates Janet Glynn (left)
and Jenny Humphries

                                                                Assistant Solicitor Daniel Sherlock, who joined
                                                                Girlings’ litigation department just six months
                                                                ago, has been appointed associate solicitor.
                                                                This promotion, in February, came as he marked
                                                                five years since qualifying as a solicitor.
                                                                Litigation specialist Daniel deals mainly with
                                                                commercial contractual disputes and landlord
                                                                and tenant disputes on behalf of both business
                                                                and private clients. Daniel works at the
                                                                Canterbury office.

                                  Daniel Sherlock
Diary Dates      In conjunction with Kent Invicta Chamber, Girlings
                                                                            Two further seminars will follow on:
                 is presenting a series of interactive seminars on
                 various aspects of employment law for business             Age Discrimination
                 owners and managers. Led by Simon Warley from              Thursday 8th June
                 Girlings’ employment law team, each seminar will           Employees – Recruitment and Discipline
                 include an in-depth presentation on an important           Thursday 6th July 2006.
                 aspect of employment law, followed by an
                                                                            Don’t miss this opportunity to ensure that your
                 interactive question and answer session. The               business is compliant and up to date with the latest
                 seminars start at 8am with breakfast, and end at           changes in employment law. To reserve your place,
                 11.30am.                                                   contact Dee Conroy at Kent Invicta Chamber on:
                                                                            01233 503838 or email:
     The first seminar will be held at Canterbury Christchurch    
     University at Hall Place, Harbledown, on Thursday, 11th
                                                                            Alternatively, you can book on-line at
     May. It will cover issues such as TUPE regulations, new UK
     and European legislation, restrictive covenants, and         
     redundancy and unfair dismissal. The event is free for
     Chamber members; £45 for non-members.

    Partner Profile
                                    Solicitor Jeremy Burke became
                                    Girlings’ newest partner last
                                    month. He has also been
                                    appointed lead partner of Girlings’
                                    commercial division, responsible
                                    for promoting the comprehensive
                                    range of commercial and property
                                    services offered by the firm’s team
                                    of specialist solicitors based at the
                                    Canterbury and Ashford offices.
                                                                              Ashford                   Herne Bay
                                    Jeremy joined Girlings’                   Bank House,               39 William Street,
                                                                              2a Bank Street,           Herne Bay,
   commercial property team at Canterbury in 2005. He                         Ashford,                  Kent CT6 5NS
   specialises in the sale and purchase of commercial                         Kent TN23 1BX             Tel: 01227 367355
                                                                              Tel: 01233 647377         Fax: 01227 365348
   premises, leases and rent reviews, working closely with                    Fax: 01233 647363
   business owners to help them maximise and protect                                                    Margate
   investments.                                                               Ashford                   Crown Chambers,
                                                                              Stourside Place,          Broad Street,
                                                                              Station Road,             Margate,
   A former pupil at King’s School in Canterbury, Jeremy
                                                                              Ashford,                  Kent CT9 1BN
   qualified as a solicitor in 1988. Prior to joining Girlings, he            Kent TN23 1PP             Tel: 01843 220274
   worked with London law firm Lawrence Jones, where he                       Tel: 01233 664711         Fax: 01843 297828
                                                                              Fax: 01233 664722
   handled a broad range of commercial property matters. He
   also spent a number of years in India, running a business                  Canterbury
   development consultancy and a soft skills training business.               16 Rose Lane,
                                                                              Canterbury,               Tel: 01843 585131
                                                                              Kent CT1 2UR
   A keen golfer, Jeremy plays off a 12 handicap. He also
                                                                                                                                   Design & Production SEA 01227 768808

                                                                              Tel: 01227 768374
   enjoys cricket, playing for his local village and two other                Fax: 01227 450498
   Kent-based teams, the ‘Bluemantles’ and ‘The Moose’.

    Authorised and Regulated by the Financial Services Authority.   
    Regulated by the Law Society.

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